First Amendment News

Supreme Court to decide crucial free speech cases

FIRE reports that the Supreme Court is set to rule on important cases regarding online speech and a case involving how governments pressure private groups for political reasons. The cases will decide these questions: Can public officials block users on social media accounts they use for official business?; Can protest organizers be held negligent and liable for acts committed by unidentified people at the protest?; Do laws that regulate social media content moderation violate the

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Universities urged to keep local police out of protests

The recent pro-Palestinian protests have led universities to call in local police, eroding their legitimacy as a self-governing entity. Said John Thelin, University of Kentucky College of Education emeritus professor of higher education, “One has to think of an American college or university as a ‘city-state’ in which its legal protections and walls include the campus — grounds, buildings, structures facilities — as legally protected, along with a university’s rights to confer degrees. Calling in

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California police violating laws protecting journalists covering protests

California police agencies are violating Penal Code Section 409.7 with their arrests of reporters and photojournalists during recent campus protests. The code prohibits police from interfering with reporters during a protest and from citing reporters for failing to disperse and allows reporters to enter closed areas around a protest. (Freedom of the Press Foundation, May 16, 2024, by Caitlin Vogus) In related news, California Highway Patrol officers fired into crowds at the Palestinian protests at

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Opinion: Trump presidency dire threat for news industry

Leonard Downie, Jr. in The Washington Post, May 21, 2024, argues that Donald Trump’s recent threats against the news media should be taken seriously. During his first term, he undermined public trust in the press and factual reporting in numerous ways from making thousands of false statements to asking for boycotts of certain news organizations. One of the greatest fears is that if elected again, Trump would resist accountability by curtailing the press that criticizes

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Diversity statements may dampen free expression

In a May 19, 2024 editorial, The Washington Post reports that top universities are beginning to question the wisdom of requiring job candidates to submit statements of how they would advance diversity, equity and inclusion. While the goals of achieving inclusive universities are still vital, requiring the statements may lead candidates to engage in “performative dishonesty” and result in “self-censorship and ideological policing.”

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